How Many Planets Exist in the Universe

In July 2021 humans discovered 4424 exoplanets with another 7576 candidates awaiting confirmation. To qualify as a planet an object must meet three criteria: it must be in direct orbit around a star be massive enough to crush other material in its neighborhood and have cleared the area of its orbit of other matter. Dwarf planets are objects that have no known habitable surfaces and are only objects in direct orbit around a star.

Kepler space telescope found 2700 planets

The Kepler space telescope discovered over two thousand new planets since it was launched in 2009. So far scientists have confirmed that nearly 90 percent of these are real planets. The discovery also confirmed the existence of thousands of other worlds that could be secret worlds. The Kepler mission also confirmed that more than 1300 known planetary systems are home to at least one exoplanet. While some of these planets are small and unlikely to support life most are large enough to have atmospheres.

But there are some major problems with the Kepler space telescope. Two of its wheels have failed to function properly which has meant that it is unable to point to stars as precisely as it once did. Unfortunately the telescope is over 40 million miles from Earth and engineers cannot send astronauts to the spacecraft to fix it. The telescope isn’t going anywhere soon and scientists have a number of other plans for the spacecraft which may require repairs.

The first of these planets is Kepler-20e a gas giant three times larger than Jupiter that sits about 1400 degrees Fahrenheit. While the surface temperature is too hot for life scientists have found that Kepler-20e’s atmosphere is super-dense and light enough to float on water. This planet could even withstand an ocean of molten iron. Despite its harsh orbit it is within the habitable zone the region where life could exist.

Transit method

The transit method for how many planets exist in the Universe is a good way to estimate the number of Earth-like planets in our Galaxy. Astronomers use this technique to estimate the masses of planets around stars. Planets that orbit large stars can be detected easily using this technique and this method favors planets with lower masses. The findings can be combined with other methods to find out how many planets exist in our Galaxy.

This method of detecting planets uses a star’s dimming of a planet as it passes. Observations are necessary for transit detection but it requires years of observation to detect a planet’s transit. This method can detect planets that have short orbits. Transit detection is possible if a planet has at least three transiting periods. It requires years of observing the star to detect minute dimming.

In 1999 scientists detected the first transiting planet HD 209458b. By monitoring the amount of starlight reflected by a planet scientists can learn more about its composition and size. They can also determine whether or not the planet has liquid water. The data collected using this method allows scientists to estimate the number of planets in the universe. If this method is successful it may be possible to identify thousands of planets in our galaxy.

Detection of thermal emission from ups And b

Detection of thermal emission from up’s And b has long been an ongoing goal for astronomers. The latest observations however have shown that these emissions are extremely weak and they have a very small number of epochs. This suggests that the planetary mass and distance are quite similar to ours and this may explain the low detection limit. The Keck/NIRSPEC instrument which is an echelle spectrograph is capable of up to 4-6 orders in the K and L bands per cross disperser setting. The astronomers were able to detect Kp or input kp around the Kp in excellent agreement with other techniques.

The detection of ups And b was reported by Piskorz(2017) using 7 epochs of L band data from the Keck/NIRSPEC telescopes. The detection was made with L band data from three different epochs of the NIRSPEC detector covering the left and right sides of the telescope. It is hoped that the next detection will confirm the L band detection of ups And b and will also reveal its thermal signatures.

Pluto’s story

When Pluto was discovered in 1930 it was considered to be the ninth planet in our solar system. But in 2006 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) decided that Pluto should only be classified as a dwarf planet because it was too different from the eight known planets in our solar system. The IAU decides what objects should be classified as planets and the criteria for naming an object a planet is spherical orbiting its sun and be gravitationally clear of other objects.

The recent findings of the New Horizons probe revived the debate over whether Pluto should be classified as a planet. The IAU had engineered its definition to exclude Pluto and other objects similar to it including Eris and Makemake. In the process it adopted the astrological concept of Earth a much more accurate concept of the universe. The probe’s new findings have prompted scientists to revisit this debate.

Pluto was given the name of an icy planet in 1977 by a young girl. The girl was fascinated with the Roman mythology of the planet and suggested a name based on it. Her grandfather relayed the idea to the Royal Astronomical Society in the UK. After studying the new planet for a few months she suggested naming it ‘PL’ after the famous American astronomer Percival Lowell.

Exoplanets

Scientists have been trying to determine how many exoplanets are out there. One method is the transit method which involves observing faint dips in starlight from planets as they pass in front of their host star. This method has been very successful in finding thousands of exoplanets. Using this technique astronomers can study the gravitational effect these planets have on their host stars which causes the star to wobble and alters the wavelengths of light.

Astronomers believe that there are almost as many exoplanets as there are stars so if the universe is 100 billion light years from Earth it should contain as many planets as stars. According to astronomer Erik Zackrisson of Uppsala University there should be hundreds of Earth-like planets in the universe. His calculations based on the current knowledge of the universe suggest that there are about seventy quintillion planets in the universe.

The first confirmed exoplanets were discovered in the early 1990s. In addition to the ground-based telescopes NASA’s Kepler space telescope was launched in 2009 to monitor the brightness of hundreds of thousands of stars. Kepler found two-thirds of the 5005 known exoplanets and over two thousand more candidates. With these discoveries scientists can begin to understand what makes exoplanets so common and how they formed.

Pluto’s size

Until 2006 when NASA’s New Horizons mission turned its telescope on Jupiter Pluto was still considered a planet. Astronomers then considered any large object in the sky to be a planet. In the 1800s astronomers also found asteroids and referred to them as planets. In 1930 amateur astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto. He referred to it as the ninth planet.

New discoveries about the size and composition of Pluto’s surface make the spacecraft’s exploration of the dwarf planet even more intriguing. Pluto’s surface is smooth and features a region named after Earth’s first artificial satellite Sputnik. The smooth surface is devoid of craters created by meteorite impacts which suggests it’s only a few hundred million years old. This means it may be forming and reshaping itself by geologic processes as it evolves. Hygiea is another object with debated status but it’s located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Although it ticks all the boxes required for a dwarf planet it’s not yet a candidate for that designation.

There are five moons that Pluto has discovered. The largest is Charon which has a diameter half as large as Pluto. The moons of Pluto are sometimes considered a binary system with their barycenters outside of each other. Although Pluto’s moons are unobservable they have a large amount of overlap and have been studied closely by scientists. However the size and number of moons of Pluto can still be a topic of debate.